North Cyprus Holiday Journal - Newbies in North Cyprus - Day 10
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Ayios Philon Church
Ayios Philon Church
photo by: TRNC Ministry of Tourism
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Newbies in North Cyprus, Day 10

Day 10: Thursday

It's our last day of our holiday in North Cyprus, so we decide to make the most of our villa; after all, there's no point in hiring a North Cyprus villa if you don’t spend any time in it! So, we splashed in the pool, enjoyed the views, ate up the last of the cheese and the grapes, and generally chilled out. Conscious that another family would be taking over our North Cyprus rental villa after us, we had packed in good time for the cleaners to come in, although Amy Villas had kindly said we could stay in the villa right up until six o'clock when our taxi arrived.

When the cleaners arrived, we were surprised to find not some young Turkish Cypriot girl, but instead a couple from Newcastle, who had come out to retire to the sunshine and warmth of North Cyprus. Like many expats, they had discovered the opportunities in North Cyprus to supplement their pensions, and what had started with an agreement to clean one villa for a friend, had turned into a business cleaning 20 others! I think, in the end, we rather defeated our plan to help them have a head start on cleaning, as we spend least a good hour chatting away. Like many expats, they asked for advice before moving out through the online forum at Cyprus44. Now, the Cyprus 44 forum proved an invaluable way of communicating with new friends spread across quite a large area of North Cyprus. Indeed, I'd used the same forum myself several times before booking to discover facts about North Cyprus that travel brochures will never tell you!

So, overall, what was our view of our first visit to North Cyprus? North Cyprus feels like the Mediterranean I knew as a child on holiday 30 years or so ago. There's that same laid-back feel, the 'happy to see you' attitude of the Turkish Cypriots, local restaurants that are proud of their food and want you to be happy with your meal, and don't just look for a massive tip at the end of it. There's also the shiny new roads, and hopeful new villa developments of course, but there's also a sense of pride and optimism that's hard to find among the more established resorts around the Mediterranean. It's as if North Cyprus has leapt over the last 20 years of isolation, a move epitomised by the leap from no telephones to mobile phones for example, but in the process North Cyprus left behind many of the problems that Spain and other countries encountered on the way. Our Turkish Llira certainly went further than our euros on our last two villa holidays, and some of the best meals we had were also the cheapest, so quality is certainly not ruled by price yet. Every Turkish Cypriot we met was, without exception, charming, polite, and happy to see us. Even the Greek Cypriot border guard on our way back greeted us with a full smile, waving us through with the minimum of fuss!

Of course, every holiday must have its downside. After a faultless flight from Larnaca, we were stacked above Gatwick airport or 20 minutes. And once we had queued in Immigration, the truck bringing our luggage to the baggage reclaim area broke down, so we spent an hour sitting waiting for it. Welcome home!